#SwitchToSustainability: Two Ilonggo Designers attend first-ever Philippines X Fashion Conference 2019

Binky Pitogo

Sustaining my business to ensure that my staff have work to do every day, whether we have orders or not, has been my biggest challenge. Doing business responsibly gradually grew in me with the realization that I also slowly enrich my purpose in my own circle and in the community.

The short course I took at Central Saint Martins in the UK became an eye-opener and a game-changer for me. It stressed the importance of knowing every single detail in the business and understanding the complexity of the supply chain. Furthermore, attending the PHxFashion conference expanded my network and there are more people I work with now, other than my staff – local artists and artisans such as weavers, embroiderers and crafters of lovely fabrics. A potential significant part of the supply chain that needs nurturing are indigenous tribes whose rich cultures define their identity. I realized that more than just creating beautiful pieces, I have a more important role as part of the creative community. Bringing them into the supply chain would also mean promoting inclusive growth.

Then there is Lin-ay, a dream I am shaping to fruition. Lin-ay was created, not only to keep my staff busy, but to launch the higher purpose of empowering and promoting inclusive growth. It is about women supporting fellow women. The fabrics we use are sourced from the different provinces in Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao, hand-woven masterpieces by our local weavers to fuse into casual, wearable modern Filipinianas. Wearing a piece from Lin-ay doesn’t only make one feel empowered, but it also empowers women creators in many corners of the Philippines who entrust us with their art replete with tradition. That is trust that should be worn with pride.

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“Design is a very essential part of the designing economy”

Paul Conte

Just this year, I decided to put up a “ready to wear” brand- CONTÉ, which focuses on the sustainability and promotion of our local fabrics. People used to know me with my first love, making “made to order” garments and I always imagined myself to be making them forever. Doing CONTÈ is another story. Most of my made to orders especially the PAUL CONTE BRIDAL ensembles are for women, I am known for my dainty and feminine designs which I always give homage to a woman’s body and beauty. This time giving attention to masculinity, CONTÉ is a ready to wear brand exclusively for men. From Maong-Hablon Trucker Jackets to everyday wear preppy and casual polo shirt jack all made of hablon, to formal embroidered modern barongs. The main thrust of the brand is to switch to sustainable materials, supporting local fabrics and weavers and to promote our local brands. Changing fashion one “OOTD” at a time.

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